West African Leaders Call for Guinea Elections in Six Months
(Bloomberg) -- West African leaders are calling for Guinea’s new military rulers to hold an election in six months, opting for a tight deadline after a series of coups in the region.
Ghana’s President Nana Akufo-Addo will lead a delegation from the Economic Community of West African States to Guinea within the next 48 hours to meet the soldiers who ousted President Alpha Conde, Ecowas Commission President Jean-Claude Kassi Brou told reporters after a regional meeting in Ghana’s capital, Accra.
Ecowas, which is calling for Conde’s unconditional release, is also imposing a travel ban on junta members and their families, and a freeze on their financial assets.
“We are sending a strong signal to all those who are tempted to have this type of idea that there will be a very high price to pay,” Brou said.
Military power grabs have made a comeback in the region, unsettling sitting leaders. Guinea’s coup came about a year after a putsch in neighboring Mali, which Ecowas continues to mediate. The 15-nation bloc initially blockaded Mali to mount pressure on the junta to cede power within 18 months and install a civilian to lead the transitional government, but later softened its stance.
The Malian junta then carried out a second coup in May, having grown displeased with the civilians to whom they’d ceded some of their power. It has since asked Ecowas for an extension of its deadline to hold elections.
Regional leaders decided Thursday against the extension in Mali, calling for elections to be held on Feb. 27, as originally planned, according to an Ecowas statement emailed late Thursday. They also condemned a plan by the Malian junta to hire the Wagner group of Russian mercenaries to fight jihadists in the country, the bloc said in the statement.
“We are required to take informed decisions on these matters that will have long-term consequences for the stability and defense of the democratic values of our region,” Akufo-Addo, who’s the current Ecowas chairman, had said ahead of the talks on Guinea and Mali.
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